Thoughts On RealID Changes

I posted this over at the Blizzard Forums in regards to the recent unveiling that just prior to the release of the next expansion, you will be posting as your real name anytime you post on the official Blizzard forums. No option to use any form of alias will be provided. If you want to talk on the forums, you better be willing for any of the innumerable nut jobs that troll the internet to see it.

Most of the people that follow this blog are probably my friends on Facebook, at this point. You're folks I have met through podcast communities and other such internet pastimes. However, you will notice that I do not post a link to this blog on my Facebook and I do not share my Facebook on this blog. I maintain a choice to have a certain amount of disconnect from my real life and my internet bullshit. That is a choice that I feel is mine to make. Anyway, just wanted to post my thoughts on the subject here for posterity. If this is the future of gaming, I don't like it. Not one bit.

I understand the idea behind us having one unified ID to post on the forums under. However, I think Blizzard, as a company, greatly underestimate the level of crazy present in a portion of it's playerbase. I appreciate you notifying us of this change, as it means that once it goes live, I will never post anything on these forums, short of maybe in the customer service forum when I have an issue with my account. I will certainly not be "hanging out" in the forums, discussing the game with my fellow wow heads. Perhaps that is what Blizzard wants. If so, bravo.

As for why I will never post here, the reason is simple; my name is unique. Seriously, there is not another person in the United States with my family name that I am not directly related to and in regular contact with. If, for whatever reason, a person that plays WoW decides that I have wronged them, finding me is as simple as a White Pages search and a trip to google maps. Paranoid? Maybe so, but I am not the only person that plays this game with this same issue. You are opening up your playerbase to stalkers in an environment that is already prone to such activities. Sexual predators are rampant on the internet (and gaming is an obvious target for them) and I refuse to open my family to any kind of risk just so Blizzard can keep me from potentially trolling on an alt.

What I don't understand is your reasoning. To prevent trolling, all we need is a universal account ID. Instead of my real name, let me post as Leeroy Jenkins or some other unique handle tagged directly to my account. No offense, but I have been playing WoW for 5 years and there aren't many people that play this game that I want knowing my real name. I don't care that they know what my characters names are. That information can not get them to my front door while I am at work and my wife is home alone. You are also complete fools if you think parental controls will keep minors off these boards in this age of absentee parenting. In short, someone is going to get hurt when this goes live. That's not a probability, it's an inevitability.

Like I said, though, thank you for the notice. I don't post here often, anymore, as it is, but knowing this change is coming, I will discontinue posting on these forums, completely. I am not angry, per se, and this is not intended as flame bait or a plee to not do this. I am simply a Blizzard customer explaining to you why I will not be making use of this. Ever.